Will implement odd-even scheme whenever required: Arvind Kejriwal

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Will implement odd-even scheme whenever required: Arvind Kejriwal

With pollution reaching severe levels, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the Centre should call a meeting of Delhi's neighbouring states to discuss the issue as air doesn't follow a boundary and only one state can not check it.

Battling the year's worst spell of air pollution, the Supreme Court-mandated pollution watchdog EPCA on Monday ordered a shutdown of industrial units and halted construction activities in Delhi-NCR till December 26.

According to data from the Central Pollution Control Board, the overall air quality index (AQI) stood at 431.

The air quality in Delhi-NCR remained "severe" for the fourth consecutive day as high humidity, low wind speed and a drop in mercury prevented the dispersal of particulate matters.

Ventilation index is the speed at which pollutants can get dispersed. We sanctioned one of largest metro phases yesterday.

In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, Lal also directed him to ban all construction activities in the national capital, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida till Wednesday.

He further added, "Air has no boundary".

Senior officials predicted the severe pollution would last another three days due to unusually stagnant and cold air. Thirty areas in the city recorded "severe" air quality while it was "very poor" in five areas, it said.

"The wind speed and ventilation index are highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants", it said.

The Delhi environment ministry on Sunday instructed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to track the areas that are vulnerable to high pollution and keep a watch on violations. "Moderate foggy conditions will prevail for the next two days over Delhi and surrounding regions and may not allow significant improvement", the SAFAR said. "It is not as if the level of emissions has suddenly gone up", he said.

In a health advisory, the SAFAR asked Delhiites not to rely on common dust masks for protection.

In some parts of Delhi, pollution levels hit 654 on Monday, among the worst recorded this year, and visibility in some parts of the city was just 200 metres, the weather department said.

Officials attributed the sudden deterioration in the air quality to a change in wind direction, which is now blowing from the northwestern region towards Delhi and bringing dust and smoke from stubble burning in neighbouring states with it.

A CPCB-led task force, during a meeting on Saturday, recommended minimising outdoor exposure for the next couple of days and avoiding the use of private vehicles. "Most complaints are about waste burning", he said.

Experts advised against all physical activities outdoors and prescribed the use of N-95 or P-100 respirators when stepping out.

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